Zimborders is a group of Zimbabwean, South African and international investors, and financial institutions. Picture: SUPPLIED
Zimborders is a group of Zimbabwean, South African and international investors, and financial institutions. Picture: SUPPLIED
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JSE-listed Raubex is the primary contractor involved in the development of the proposed new Beitbridge border post.

Last week the Zimbabwe government launched the project following the signing of a $240m contract for the expansion of the border infrastructure, part of an ongoing push to turn SA’s busiest inland border post into a one-stop crossing.

Construction costs are expected to total $170m, with the full cost coming to $240m, including transaction costs, Zimborders Consortium CEO Francois Diedrechsen said on Sunday. Zimborders is a group of Zimbabwean, South African and international investors, and financial institutions.

The border post will be run as a public-private partnership between the Government of Zimbabwe and Zimborders under a 17-year concession, said Diedrechsen, a former executive director of Raubex, which earlier in July bemoaned the lack of new projects in SA, saying that its order book had halved in recent years.

The Beitbridge contract was awarded to Zimborders in February. The original contract was delayed and then halted due to the change in Zimbabwe’s government in November. The contract was subsequently reawarded to the consortium.

The project will include a major upgrade of roads to and from the border post, perimeter fencing and gate control infrastructure, parking areas, a commercial centre, staff accommodation, upgrading of communications, security and lighting systems, and the construction of new buildings and terminals.

Additional noncore works to improve the town’s critical infrastructure will also be included, such as sewer ponds and storage dumps.

However, there is no plan to build another bridge or widen the current one, which is often the source of traffic jams. Nevertheless, the refurbishment of the border post is widely expected to ease congestion.

Construction is expected to begin at the end of 2018 and last about two and a half years. Upon completion it will become a one-stop border crossing, meaning vehicles will be stopped only once on either side. About 15,000 people and 500 commercial trucks pass through the border post daily. The numbers often double during peak holiday season and traffic delays can run up to several days.

"We are very optimistic about the new [Zimbabwe] government and the way they are going about it," said Diedrechsen.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa presided over a ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za